My mobile binged with a new email message while I was helping my daughter with her homework, and I picked up the phone immediately, like a technology addict. She continued reading aloud to me, but her voice became background noise as I got lost in the message. After a while my daughter looked over her book and said, “Mum, listen.”
A pang of guilt hit me, and then a moment of regret at my hypocrisy. Only the day before, when my husband was glued to his mobile, I said to him, “When you’re spending family time with us, please BE PRESENT.”
What do they say about practicing what you preach?
It made me wonder at what point my life became so tied to technology. When the internet connection goes down it’s like life is coming to an end. When the TV system fails to record my scheduled series I am as testy as irritable bowel syndrome. When I accidentally leave my mobile at home I feel naked.
The next day, my email account went down and I felt panic. Yet after a few days sans emails I realised how quiet and uninterrupted my life had become. I didn’t miss the constant binge of my phone at all. I was free, unfettered. I fully engaged with my daughter as she did her homework.
“I’ve decided I like the quiet life,” I said to my husband. “Let’s go and live on a farm, bake bread and collect eggs.”
It was a joke, but there is always some truth in jest.
When my email account came to life again, a barrage of old messages lit up my phone screen. I had missed important notices about my Singaporean Employment Pass, an overdue medical insurance invoice, and ironically a message from my daughter’s teacher about her homework. Whether I like it or not, we are tethered to technology these days, including people who live on farms. It’s up to me to choose when to let it disrupt my life; definitely not during homework time with my daughter.